TRAIL MAGIC: How I ended up at a little party at the Cycle Works bike shop in Paris, Texas on a Saturday night ✨ ✨

Anyone who has done long distance hiking or biking can tell you that there really is a thing called trail magic. Coincidences, chance meetings… call them whatever you like. But sometimes you luck out and meet the coolest people at just the right time.

That fantastic little one room “hostel” on the back of that volunteer fire station in Avery, Texas wasn’t in any of the guide sites that I use. I ended up there by chance. I was in Texarkana and needed to get my bike valve stem fixed. A kind gentleman from Ireland who was a bicycle enthusiast came over to the air pump, asked what the problem was and offered to take me over to his local bike shop.

The owner of the bike shop, Terry, was very kind and helpful. And after he made the necessary repair, he recommended this little one room hostel on the back of volunteer fire company in Avery, Texas 40 miles to the west.

The bike shop owner in Texarkana knows the fire chief in Avery because they’re both champions of the local “NETT” trail (60 mile rail trail across northeast Texas). So I got to stay in that cool little one room hostel in the back of the volunteer fire station right on that rail trail.

The next morning, the fire chief came over to say goodbye, chat and show me the volunteer fire station’s massive “new” used fire trucks. During that conversation, he connected me with the head of the rail trail initiative in Paris, Texas who recommended a place to set up my tent 50 miles to the west in Paris by the Eiffel Tower.

Then I got a flat tire on my way into Paris. (Incredibly this was my FIRST FLAT TIRE in 2,000+ miles) – Sidewall split open. It was a tire from home in Pennsylvania that I had been carrying I had put it on in Texarkana and that tire of mine from home may have been defective.

The head of the rail trail then connected me with the owners of the owner of the bike shop “Cycleworks” in Paris, Texas. The owner of that bike shop in Paris is also a champion of the NETT rail trail. (Rail trails really are a golden thread that connect people and communities)!

Miraculously we all met up at the Cycleworks bike shop on a Saturday night in Paris, laughing and enjoying the camaraderie that comes with cycling. Everyone was so kind and it was a lot of fun to talk with fellow bikers. The fellow who’s doing the engineering for the rail trail showed up and so did the head champion of the rail trail (and she brought her husband and son). There’s a fellowship among cyclists that can’t be beat. One of the many great things about cycling across the country. You’re always among friends.

It’s a small world. Full of trail magic. And I’m truly grateful.

Website for this COAST to COAST bicycle ride to benefit Bell Socialization: http://www.thisclearbluesky.com

Bell runs the family homeless shelter in my hometown of York, Pennsylvania where I used to be a caseworker. They unfortunately turn down 700 families a year due to lack of space. Many of these families have children and some of them end up sleeping in their cars.

You’ll see photos and stories on that website as well as donation link and social media links.

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